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Hasini Gunasekara recognized as one of South Asia’s Outstanding Contributors to Women’s Empowerment

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India, August 2022 – Hasini Gunasekara, entrepreneur, Director of Naturals salon chain in Sri Lanka, and Managing Director of International Academy of Beauticians was recognized as an outstanding contributor towards women’s empowerment and was awarded the Woman Influencer Award at the recent South India Miss & Mrs – 2002 Award Show organized by the All India Hair and Beauty Association. This recognition was awarded for her exemplary efforts in providing a platform for women to pursue a profession and be economically independent through Naturals Lanka Grooming (Pvt) Ltd. She was instrumental in taking Naturals, India’s No. 1 salon chain, international.

“The journey of an entrepreneur can be difficult with most of the motivation being self-driven. In an environment of uncertainty, receiving this recognition and to be on the same platform alongside professionals of another country was an amazing experience,” Hasini shared, “I feel proud knowing that the community in India recognized my efforts and it is a great encouragement for me to know that I have reached beyond the boundaries of my country.”

Naturals Lanka Grooming (Pvt) Ltd is the chain of franchisee salons based in Sri Lanka, operating with 100% local ownership. “Franchising was a novel concept in the Sri Lankan business world at the time we decided to launch Naturals Sri Lanka. However, it proved to be a successful concept. With the support of my team, I have been able to expand and today we are seven salons strong,” she said.

Established in 2017 in Boralesgamuwa, Naturals salons have since expanded to Nugegoda, Thalawathugoda, Kiribathgoda, Kotahena, Wattala, Kandana and have empowered women by providing opportunities for financial independence through direct employment, beauty education and encouraged entrepreneurship through franchise opportunities.

Groom Sri Lanka is Hasini’s key vision for her customers. “I want everyone to take care of themselves and have that personal confidence for themselves. One of my biggest dreams is for all Sri Lankans to have access to affordable, comfortable luxury services for personal grooming.”

The International Academy of Beauticians was established by Hasini to provide high quality hairdressing and beauty education, in a safe space for all students and supply employable skills to the industry.

“There is a lack in harnessing good talent in the industry. I want to popularize the concept of intrapreneurship where stylists can progress in their careers without financially investing into a business, improve their skills, earning capacity, and for the beauty industry to be a sought-after industry to be employed in. My academy aims to provide education on par with international standards ensuring qualified stylists can find employment in any part of the world,” she explained her plans for the growth of the industry.



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Tea industry targets USD 1.2 bn export turnover in 2023

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Sri Lanka will earn around USD 1.2 billion from tea exports for 2023 exporting around 260 million Kg, said Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, (SLTB) Niraj de Mel, last week.

SLTB is forecasting a modest growth for 2023 in comparison to the current year estimating an increased production of 290 million Kgs with export revenues expected to increase to USD 1.4 billion. Due to the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar, during the first half of the year and a shortage of tea, sales caught up and auction prices increased sharply from March 2022. Despite fuel shortages and logistic issues, the Regional Plantation Companies and smallholders have been able to continue the harvesting of green leaf throughout the year. When compared to 2020 and 2021 volumes, the Green Leaf price to smallholders has increased exponentially from July 2022 onwards.

“The tea smallholder who used to get around Rs. 90 per kg three years ago is now getting around Rs. 250 per kg and some estates have paid nearly Rs. 1,000 per kg. He said that though the glyphosate fertiliser ban is lifted planters should not use it heavily as a ‘global ban of glyphosate’ is imminent for the tea industry. Some countries like Taiwan already reject tea grown with the use of glyphosate.” He recalled that tea production reached an all time high with a record of 340 million Kgs in 2013. “After short increases during the period 2017 to 2019, tea production recorded a decrease in 2020, mainly due to the fallout from the pandemic and now we are taking several steps to increase production.”

The Tea board is offering a host of financial grants and loans to the tea growers, factories as well as for exporters. “These include subsidies for replanting, fertiliser for growers, special grants and loans for factories to upgrade their machinery and soft loans for exporters for packaging. These facilities exceed Rs. 4 billion per year.”

Tea Commissioner E. Edirisinghe said that they would also provide Rs. I million for tea factory expansion which comes as a grant. “In addition, we pay 3% of the capital when factories install solar,” he said.

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David Pieris Group imparts three-wheeler mechanic skills to 20 women in Jaffna

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Producing skilled female labour and encouraging active participation of women in the economy of the Nation, the David Pieris Group successfully concluded another mechanical training programme in Jaffna recently.

The women who completed the programme titled ‘Empowering Women Through Technical Training’ received a NVQ (National Vocational Qualifications) Level 01 certificate and comprehensive 02 tool kits at the awards ceremony held at the North Gate Hotel, Jaffna on the 09th November 2022. 20 women from the Northern Province including the Jaffna, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya Districts participated in this programme.

This programme, was initiated by the David Pieris Group in association with the Sri Lanka Women’s Bureau under the Ministry of Women, Child Affairs and Social Empowerment in 2017 and is the first and only mechanic based technical Programme exclusively targeting women.

Speaking at the ceremony Samantha Silva, Chief Marketing Officer, David Pieris Motor Company (Pvt.) Ltd said; “This initiative will provide the technical training required to attend to any type of repair related to three-wheelers with the ultimate goal of creating trained, certified women mechanics, especially in the Northern Province which has an increased percentage of women led families and communities post three decades of civil war.”

The candidates for the programme were selected in collaboration with the DPMC Dealer network in the Northern Province. Upon completing the theory segment of the technical training, the candidates had the opportunity of attending to practical repair work at DPMC service dealers in their respective areas in order to gain necessary and valuable hands- on experience. At the conclusion of the programme subject to a final assessment, they were certified as mechanics.

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Harin urges for ‘breathing space’ to revive tourism

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Minister of Tourism and Lands Harin Fernando said on Saturday that persistent political agitations make his job of promoting Sri Lanka as a safe and convenient tourist destination extremely difficult.

“Now the country has restarted to function although not at a comfortable level to everyone. People undergo many economic difficulties due to high cost of living. These issues need to be addressed and resolved one by one. Creating troubles constantly in a highly political way won’t help the country to come out of the crisis. It will only prolong the crisis.

As Minister of Tourism, I have a hard time promoting tourism in Sri Lanka because it is no easy task to convince potential overseas visitors that the situation is back to normal. So, I appeal to these parties to allow at least six months for the country resuscitate whose breathing had stopped for some time,” he said.

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